At Least 550 Muslims Die At Hajj - As Temps At Mecca Hit 51.8°C


According to reports, at least 550 people have died so far during the Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca due to the extreme heat.

Temperatures in the Saudi Arabian capital hit at least 51.8C (125F) in the shade, as large groups of Muslims embarked on the annual holy pilgrimage, one of Islam's five pillars.

"Hajj is a difficult task, so you have to exert efforts and perform the rituals even in the conditions of heat and crowding," a pilgrim from Egypt said.

Pilgrims used umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun, as Saudi officials cautioned them to remain hydrated and avoid being outside during the hottest hours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Stampedes, tent fires, and other accidents have claimed hundreds of lives during the Hajj in the last 30 years. Last year, around 240 individuals were reported to have died.

This year's pilgrimage began on Friday and, as usual, coincided with the sacred holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Several deaths have been recorded during this year's Hajj, with Journalists placing the number at 550, citing diplomats.

According to AFP, 323 of the deceased were Egyptians, and many of them died from heat-related illnesses.

According to a 2024 research published in the Journal of Travel and Medicine, rising global temperatures might outpace the strategies put in place to manage them. A 2019 study published in Geophysical Research Letters, reveals that when temperatures rise in desert Saudi Arabia due to climate change, pilgrims performing the Hajj will face extreme danger-related illness.

A Saudi health official, speaking on Monday before many of the reports of deaths were released, stated that officials had not observed any unusual death among Muslim pilgrims despite the unusually high temperatures.

He noted that the ministry had already treated over 2,700 pilgrims who had been sick due to the heat.

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